BSP assures execs facing graft raps before Ombudsman will answer in proper forum

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2021   •   554

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday assured that its officials who are facing graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman will respond in an appropriate forum.

The complaint, filed by Ricardo Fulgencio IV of Stop Corruption Organization of the Philippines, accused BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and officials of central bank’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of granting P1.75-billion contract to Allcard International sans public bidding for the implementation of the national identification system.

Aside from Diokno, Prudence Angelita Kasala, Rogel Joseph del Rosario, Carl Cesar Bibat, Marianne Santos, Salvador del Mundo, and Giovanni Israel Joson were also named as respondents to the complaint.

“As regards the complaint filed with the Ombudsman relative to the procurement for the printing of cards for the National ID System, rest assured that the BSP officials concerned will respond in the proper forum once required in accordance with applicable rules,” the BSP said in a statement.

Fulgencio said the bidding process for equipment and materials for the Philippine Identification cards was flawed because the BAC of the BSP Security Plant Complex, which is in charge of procuring materials for the cards, required all bidders to procure raw materials, such as diffractive optically variable image device (DOVID) and polycarbonate sheets, from OVD Kinegram.

The complainant said this requirement is prohibited by procurement laws as it shows a specific reference to a brand name.

“[The] respondents’ act of requiring the bidders to procure their raw materials from OVD Kinegram AG effectively gave the latter private party, unwarranted benefits. The respondents’ preference to Kinegram deprived other DOVID suppliers of the opportunity to bid for the project and robbed the government of getting the most advantageous terms for the supply of such raw materials,” the complaint read.

“Clearly, this is a corrupt practice. Henceforth, it is respectfully prayed before this Honorable Office that after the requisite preliminary investigation, criminal information against the herein respondents be filed before the Sandiganbayan,” it added.

Despite the complaint, the BSP said that it supports the rollout of the National ID as it is key to wider financial inclusion that promotes shared economic growth and the financial wellbeing of Filipinos.

Bangko Sentral shares tips in determining fake banknotes

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday advised the public to carefully check their banknotes to ascertain the genuineness of the Philippine currency.

The BSP issued the advisory following reports circulating in social media and messaging apps on the existence of alleged counterfeit 1000-Peso banknotes.

Under Republic Act No. 10951, counterfeiters of Philippine currency are subject to the penalty of imprisonment of at least 12 years and 1 day and a fine not exceeding two million pesos, the central bank warned.

To check the authenticity of the new generation currency (NGC) banknotes, the BSP advised the public to use the “Feel-Look-Tilt” method to check the security features.

A detailed illustration of this method has been posted on BSP’s website.

Photo_NGC_ENGC.jpg

“From January to June 2021, the BSP led five successful law enforcement operations that resulted in the arrest of 14 individuals and the filing of nine separate criminal charges,” the central bank said.

The BSP also said it regularly conducts public information campaigns to educate the public on the design, security features, and proper handling of Philippine currency as well as relevant laws, policies, and programs.

“The BSP enhanced the New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes to incorporate the latest anti-counterfeiting technology and improve the visual and tactile differentiation of each denomination,” it said.

The central bank advised the public to immediately report any information on counterfeiting of Philippine currency to the nearest police station or law enforcement agency for appropriate action.

The public may also reach the Payments and Currency Investigation Group (PCIG) at this email address, it added.

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

BSP reminds banks to accept mutilated banknotes, coins

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday (August 20) reminded all authorized agent banks to accept mutilated banknotes and coins from the public.

Pursuant to BSP Circular No. 829, all BSP-authorized agent banks shall subsequently forward the said mutilated and/or doubtful currencies to the BSP for examination of redemption value and/or genuineness.

To avoid disintegration or further deterioration while in transit, banks are advised to place mutilated currency in appropriate containers.

Mutilated banknotes shall be valid for redemption if all of the following requirements are met;​

– The remaining surface area is no less than 3/5 of the original size of the banknote;

– A portion of any one of the signatures of the President of the Philippines or the Governor of the BSP remains; and

– Presence of the Embedded Security Thread (EST) or Windowed Security Thread (WST), unless the same is lost or damaged due to fire, water, chemical, or bitten by termites/rodents and the like.

Banknotes whose EST or WST were willfully removed shall not be valid for redemption.

The BSP encourages the cooperation of the banks and the public to help the agency preserve the integrity of Philippine currency.

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